An Azorean twist on a classic Whiskey Old Fashioned cocktailJump to Recipe
In my blog about the Ponta Delgada, I discuss an alcohol that I never imagined could exist, Licor de Leite. Translated to Milk Liqueur, I wasn’t expecting to discover such a far-out idea from the island region in the Atlantic. However, after spending a week in the Azores, I wasn’t as surprised to find it in stores.
I learned during my trip that dairy production was an essential pillar of the economy for the Azores. And this is apparent as the cows on some islands can outnumber the humans almost 8 to 1! The other unique part of this is that the cows have free range of the island and its fields. Farmers have portable milking stations that they take to their herd, creating some of the healthiest and most delicious dairy products. On Sao Miguel, we once came to a stop in traffic, because cows were walking on the highway to their next field. Milk is also a significant export for the Azores, so much that the government grades milk and pays out to farmers depending on the score quality.
With all the milk and cows, discovering Licor de Leite ended up being less of a surprise, yet still, I was slightly apprehensive. The idea of translucent alcohol from milk, highly confusing. Would it taste like milk? Or like bad alcohol with artificial flavoring? Surprisingly enough, Licor de Leite, a 40 proof, 20% alcohol, is smooth, sweet, and aromatic. It has hints of vanilla and caramel, almost like a candy. Drinking it straight, it could be a nice shot of liqueur with a dessert or even just as a late-night drink.
Since shelter in place began, I’ve been making and experimenting with different cocktails. I hadn’t thought about what I could use the liqueur in until I had been drinking a bit more whiskey. Instead of using simple syrup or sugar, I stirred up an Old Fashioned with the Licor de Leite. It added the sweetness that the simple syrup is used for while infusing this traditional drink with notes of creamy milk, caramel, and vanilla. If you want to try and make your own Licor de Leite, check out David Leite’s recipe here.
Azorean Old Fashioned with Licor de Leite
- 2 oz whiskey
- 1 tsp water (filtered)
- 0.5 oz Licor de Leite (or simple syrup + vanilla)
- 2 dashes bitters
- 1 Maraschino cherry
- 1 peel orange
- Start with 2 ounces of whiskey into your Old Fashioned glass
- Add the teaspoon of water to the glass
- Add the 0.5 ounce of Licor de Leite
- Add the 2 dashes of bitters
- Stir to combine the bitters and Licor with the whiskey
- Add your ice into the glass
- Finally, twist your orange peel over the top of the drink to release the oils, then drop the peel and a cherry into the glass. Enjoy!